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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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("pouring out or emptying".) A stream which traverses Gilead, and falls into Jordan midway between the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Now wady Zerka. The northern bound of Sihon's kingdom, as the Arnon was the southern bound (Numbers 21:24) The rugged territory of Ammon, the eastern defiles of Gilead, also reached the upper Jabbok. In its early course it flows eastward under Rabbah of Ammon, a strong fortress upon a tributary of the Jabbok. Then northward and westward in a curve to a short distance from Gerasa; it reaches Jordan 45 miles N. of the Arnon. Between Rabbah and Gerasa it formed the Ammonite border. W. of this the territory had been wrested from Ammon by the Amorites (Joshua 13:25), and was still claimed by Ammon after Israel had in turn wrested it from Sihon, whence the Jabbok is still called "the border of the children of Ammon" (Deuteronomy 3:16; Joshua 12:2; Judges 11:13; Judges 11:21-22).

Though now it is one vast pasture, the numerous ruins of cities show how thickly it was once peopled. The eastern territory to which Ammon was confined in Moses' time is as yet little known to travelers. Sihon the Amorite king was unable to pursue his conquests further E., "for the border of the children of Ammon was strong," Rabbah was too strong for him. Israel was restricted by God's prohibition from touching the Ammonite land, which He had given to the children of Lot (Deuteronomy 2:19; Deuteronomy 2:37). On the southern bank of the Jabbok Jacob met Esau (Genesis 32:22). Its western part was the bound between the kingdoms of Sihon and Og (Joshua 41:2; Joshua 41:5). Its lower course is fringed with cane and oleander, the banks above are covered with oaks. The water is perennial toward its mouth, and there are great floods in winter. Paine objects to identifying Jabbok with the Zerka, as there is nothing in that region to correspond with Mahanaim and Penuel; he identifies Jabbok with the Yabis, 13 miles further N. On a tributary of the Yabis is found a ruin, Mahana = Mahanaim.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Jabbok'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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